Several students who participated in the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s summer employment program, Do Your BEST, joined in a virtual graduation ceremony.
More than 60 young people were part of the 23rd year of DYB. Just like everyone else, they learned to adapt to their new virtual work situations.
“You are at the beginning of your lives. The steps you take now moving forward dictate where you will go. Take positive steps,” said DCHA Executive Director Tyrone Garrett during the virtual ceremony. “Make sure you take a positive step and move towards your fullest potential—not towards what you think you should do, but what should you be doing.”
Garrett added, “Don’t sell yourself short…your fullest potential is out there. You should strive for that.”
Garrett also stressed having a support network of positive friends and assured the youth that DCHA and its employees also are part of that network.
Some of the DYB youth worked from home while others were assigned to work within DCHA communities. They also participated in regular professional development, where they watched videos and took online workshops to learn a host of skills that will serve them well in their future job prospects, such as resume tips and maintaining professional relationships.
“Adaptability was the theme of the program this year. You are all going to need that skill more than ever now,” said Larry Williams, senior vice president of Property Management Operations, another speaker during the ceremony. “The skills I think you are going to need in the future, first is adaptability. Attitude is everything. It is not what happens, but how you respond to it. Dependability and your work ethic are important. Being able to depend on you all to show up is key. Lastly, communication—having the ability to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills you need to have.”
One DYB participant, Dream, said the work she was assigned helped to change her mindset and is leading her down a different pathway for her future.
Tarahn, in his third year of the DYB program, said, “The videos were important because they helped my awareness and updating my skills. Honestly, I guess I can say it was fun and it gave me something to do.”
Another participant, Heaven, said she really enjoyed the experience.
“I can honestly say you made it where we didn’t feel we were left out. You still made sure we still connected with each other,” she said.
The ceremony closed out with words from DCHA’s Youth Coordinator Marcus Manning.
“We try to adjust to your needs and serve you to the best of our abilities. Being able to adapt to any environment is the key to your success,” Manning said. “Thank you for meeting the challenge.”